The Georgia Bulldogs came into the Gator Bowl against Nebraska as nine-point favorites, but the Cornhuskers were able to slip past them and win 24-19, thanks to some strong defense and taking advantage of several Georgia turnovers.
The game started out slow, with neither team scoring in the first quarter, but that quickly changed in the second. Marshall Morgan kicked three field goals for Georgia, and the Huskers took advantage of a muffed Georgia punt return to get into the end zone, and added a field foal of their own to take a 10-9 lead they would hold the entire game.
The third quarter was more of the same for both teams. Georgia put together several strong drives, but was stopped again and again by a Nebraska defense that held the team to just 96 rushing yards. Morgan put away another field goal, but Nebraska was able to expand their lead thanks to a one-yard rushing touchdown from Ameer Abdullah and a 99-yard passing touchdown from Tommy Armstrong Jr. to Quincy Enunwa. The latter was particularly embarrassing for the Dawgs, as the entire defensive unit seemed to have forgotten that passing down field was legal.
According to ESPN Stats & Info, the touchdown is the longest in bowl game history, and also the longest of the new year:
Quincy Enunwa’s 99-yard touchdown is the longest pass play in bowl history.
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 1, 2014
During the fourth quarter, the Georgia defense stepped up and held Nebraska in check, but the damage was done and the Husker defense was too much for Mason, Gurley and Co. to overcome.
Mason and Gurley did connect on a 25 yard touchdown pass to start the fourth quarter, but that would be the last scoring play of the game, to leave the score at 24-19. Georgia was able to make push for the win on their last drive of the game, but Arthur Lynch–who was excellent for the entire game–dropped an easy fourth down pass on the goal line that could have at least kept Georgia’s drive alive, if not win the game.
Hutson Mason played a solid game for Georgia, but missed a few longer passes that could have put his team over the top, and also gave up a critical interception that led to a Nebraska touchdown. He finished with 320 passing yards and completed for 21 of 39 attempts, and also did a good job under the heavy pressure of Nebraska’s pass rush.
Gurley was a workhorse for the Bulldogs all day, picking up 86 rushing yards on 21 carries, and also turning in 97 receiving yards with seven receptions. Lynch, as noted above, had a solid game as well (with the exception of his last second dropped pass of course) and was Mason’s clear No. 1 target throughout the first half. He ended the game with 69 yards and 6 receptions.
In the end, Nebraska capitalized on each of the Bulldogs mistakes, and the Cornhusker defense was just a too much for Georgia to overcome. The Huskers deserved to win that game, and I think most Georgia fans would agree with that notion.
If you’d like even more on the game, feel free to go on to the next pages and view my live notes of the game, quarter-by-quarter.